This author enjoys researching different foods, trying out new recipes, and sharing her discoveries with her readers.
Handmade Pasta: Silky and Light
Anyone who has had the pleasure of eating handmade pasta can tell you that the difference from the packaged stuff is vast. Fresh pasta is like placing a silk scarf across your tongue in texture while offering a rich, flavorful, and savory vessel for sauces, oils, and ingredients to rest upon.
This guide to making fresh pasta has a very easy recipe, making for a delightfully light and silky homemade pasta, sure to be envied by even the best culinary arts practitioners.
How to Make the Best Noodles
This guide is designed to educate you on the perfect ingredients and techniques, for the best pasta possible. You will find written directions and photographs and a video that offers you the most comprehensive pasta education right here and right now.
You can be making your homemade light and silky pasta for dinner tonight in just minutes. Once you create your dough following the steps provided, you will see that even a novice home cook can create the most decadent pasta.
What Are the Ingredients in Pasta Dough?
A simple silky handmade or homemade pasta dough can have very few ingredients:
- High-quality olive oil
As you gain more courage and technique you will find that sometimes homemade pasta can have several ingredients. You can add a variety of ingredients to your pasta dough, including fresh herbs (basil, Italian parsley, sage), squid ink (adds a vibrant black color to the pasta), black pepper, tomato, spinach, saffron, porcini (wild dried mushrooms), chile, and many, many more ingredients, even a nice Chianti (Italian wine).
Today, I am giving you my easy-to-make family recipe.
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
Why It’s Important to Use Eggs, Salt, and Olive Oil
I use a pasta dough that includes eggs because I enjoy the color, flavor, and texture the yolks provide. I have learned it is very important to use really fresh eggs in the making of pasta. I have also learned over the years that the darker the yolks are, the better your pasta will be. Some egg farmers say that hens that are fed a diet rich in corn and low in wheat grains will lay a deeply colored yolk; however I'm not certain this has been substantiated. Once you have chosen your eggs, it is highly recommended that you only use these eggs at room temperature when making pasta dough.
Salt is a very critical flavor component for good pasta. It actually has a chemical effect that excites our taste buds when eaten. If you want to check this information, take a tiny bite of chocolate and allow it to melt on your tongue. Then place a few grains of salt on a second tiny bite of chocolate, place it on your tongue allowing it to melt. You will notice a souped-up version of the first taste of chocolate because the salt has activated chemicals that "wake up" your flavor-detecting taste buds. Besides, who wants to eat bland pasta?
In Tuscany, olive oil is added to fresh handmade pasta, giving the pasta a divine soft texture and a nicely enhanced flavor; some say it also helps to make the pasta dough easier to work with, primarily if you don't run it through a pasta machine, choosing to create handmade, hand-rolled, traditional fresh pasta. You will want to add the olive oil at the same time you add your eggs to the flour, this allows the olive oil plenty of time to get dispersed throughout the pasta dough.
Best Flour for Pasta
If you are a purist and want to make only the most Italian, top-notch, world-class fresh pasta, then you will only want to use the most Italian, top-notch, world-class flour; which is called Farina Bianca 00 -or- Tipo 00, usually found at Italian specialty stores. (In case you were wondering, "Farina Bianca" means "white flour" in Italian, but only the very finest white flour). The "00" flour is very fine, and soft white wheat flour will make it far easier to work the pasta dough.
If you use regular all-purpose flour your pasta will turn out just fine, but it will be a little harder to work with, having a somewhat tough pasta texture in the end.
Can I Use Bread Flour?
If you want something in-between perfect handmade pasta and just fine handmade pasta, try using strong stone-ground bread dough. You can use just about any flour, including whole wheat or cornflour, but whatever flour you decide to use, be certain it contains gluten— or the proteins found in flour.
These proteins form gluten strands, which create a trellis-type protein array, which in turn makes a support web for the dough, bringing the light silky texture that we crave—as this is crucial for an awesome handmade pasta or any pasta for that matter. If you use flour without gluten, you will need to add gluten for your flour to do its pasta dough job
Never skimp on the kneading time of your pasta dough or your final pasta will not be silky and light!
Using a Food Processor
- Put the flour and salt in the vessel of your food processor. Make sure you have the metal blade attachment in place before adding any ingredients. Attach and lock in place the top of the food processor.
- Add 1 whole egg, pulse-blend until the flour, salt, and egg are mixed.
- Turn the food processor on full speed and add the second and third whole eggs using the feeder tube. Only run the machine until the mixture "just" becomes a dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean work countertop. (Surprisingly, wood countertops work best with pasta dough, as this top maintains a naturally warm surface temperature, which pasta dough really prefers.)
- Knead the dough just like when making pasta dough by hand.
- Wrap it in plastic wrap and allow the pasta dough to rest for 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature.
- Cutting and Shaping Pasta by Hand: Easy How-To Cooking Tips & Advice: RecipeTips.com
Cutting and Shaping Pasta by Hand Article - Homemade pasta can be cut into many shapes and sizes but the options are limited in comparison to factory made dried pastas.